Construction projects separate horticulture buildings

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With spring time just around the corner, this season’s preparation for Horticulture students landed in the soil of construction.

The horticulture program has been around Delta’s campus for many decades, and has expanded from an empty little catfish pond to a garden full of heirloom tomatoes, marigold flowers, petunias and more.

Now, the program is moving backwards and could soon face extreme difficulties because of the current construction on campus.

“I don’t understand why they’re tearing out a building,” said horticulture student Julie Morehouse. “They totally ruined the sidewalk [outside the classroom] and there aren’t any lights over here anymore for our night classes.”

The Shima expansion that has been under construction for years, splits horticulture literally down the middle. The main parts of the program consist of these components: the demonstration garden, the retail nursery, the soil bins and the greenhouse.

The new layout moves the nursery, shade house, soil bins and storage shed across the street next to the demonstration garden, leaving the greenhouse astray.

“Our job is already hard enough, and the greenhouse is the only part that’s staying behind. The greenhouse is 50 years old. It has leaks and has other problems. It’s just not efficient,” said Morehouse.

Between landscaping, selling domestic plants, and other features offered by the student’s, the program has always paid for itself. Horticulture never needed assistance in funding, until now.

The controversy caused by the new layout requires lights to be installed so the plants don’t die, added Michael Tuscano, instructor of horticulture in addition to the new layout.

“It’s irresponsible to light a greenhouse when it should be all natural,” said second year horticulture student Greg Webber.

A new building in place of the greenhouse will block the natural sunlight entering the nursery.

This new project and layout could be costing Delta more than expected. Especially since these lights will have to be on for a possible 12 hours at a time. So while the school tries to save dollars by leaving the greenhouse where it is, they could end up spending more in electricity.

“We have to work with PG&E as an energy efficient project. Until we have collected all the data we won’t know if it will cost more,” said Maria Baker, head of facilities.